Posted at 12:55h
Before adventuring to Egypt I was completely unaware of the warnings against travel especially for U.S. citizens. In Cairo I was informed that there was an update for Americans on October 3, and travel wasn’t advised to Sinai, where I had spend the last two weeks. The traveler that informed me of this was an American himself with plans to go to Sinai prior to the warning. Then I informed another American that I met of the advisory and just like that he changed travel plans to exclude his bus ride through sinai. He said it was a blessing but I felt bad for spreading the potential propaganda. I had few moments of fear or what if thoughts if something bad went down:
1- I was coming out of my hotel into a Main Street just 20 feet or so away from the hotel. There were masked armed men standing across the street 15 feet away from me. Their eyes all darted toward me. I always stand out so naturally people look my way from time to time. I am a female who is covered with tattoos rather than a burka and scarf around my head. Anxiously, I bee lined into the store and awaited being helped by the clerk. Other patrons of the shop were watching the armed masked men. I wondered why they were masked, it wasn’t unusual to see police or military with guns. These men didn’t have that presence. It would be hard to identify a masked man. If they came in a grabbed me- what would I do?? Run? Would people help me? Random thoughts along these lines were what crossed my mind. Too many movies… Perhaps.
2- People stare, no worries. I always loved the quote people are going to stare you might as well make it worth their while. But when does it get a bit creepy?? A man circled the block and cafe where I was having tea three times. I watched him, intensely watching me and muttering to himself. He wasn’t happy and his piercing eyes showed it. Meanwhile, I was smiling while reading Osho and laughed out loud a couple of times. Potential fear based irrational thought, this guy could totally get a gun and kill me here on the spot, suicide bomber.
the local train from Aswan to Luxor a man helped his family get situated with
luggage and seats. At the time I thought that he was being particular about where the luggage was as he was asking everyone if a carton was theirs that was above where his wife and kids were sitting. Which happened to be in the seats in front of me. He exited the train and returned with security who took down the carton which was blue and read petrol on it. Security removed it. Why was there random gas on the train?? Was it gas or something else? How long had it been there? Could something have gone down? Possible explosive?
The thing about these potential irrational fears is that they are precisely that. It is sad to see first hand and hear how tourism which used to be 30% of the economy in Egypt is now a fraction of what it used to be.
Someone asked me why Americans didn’t travel here much. I answered I had no idea. Since being here people have messaged me asking how it is or warning me of the supposed dangers. The Egyptian people are super welcoming and loving! It is the first country I have been to where when people ask you where you are from and you tell them America they immediately respond with Welcome! Some even add to your second home Egypt. LOL. While I probably wouldn’t go that far, the sentiment is there. Sometimes the touts are a bit much but it’s out of need for survival as I mentioned they don’t get many tourists these days.
If you always wait until the time is right, you may be waiting your whole life… to travel to places that are “safe”.